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Hannah and Her Sisters
by Crystal O'Gorman

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This was directed by the Great Woody Allen.

This was directed by the Great Woody Allen.
Hannah and Her Sisters is poetic, neurotic, at times pretentious, "cat and mouse", superficial where it's meant to be loving, endearing where it's meant to be opportunistic, a paradoxical evaluation of the closeness of death and life, interpreting the depths of religion, awakening to the evil strategic nature of triumphant desires, and closing the door on the "open and shut" perspective of reality. These are some of the ways I would describe Hannah and Her Sisters yet none of them fully do the film justice. Each is a fragment of a fragmented family, only complete by their intertwining and fully fledged by the perceptions they project onto each other.

At first glance, Hannah and Her Sisters is everything but a Thanksgiving film besides the fact that the opening and closing scenes are at Thanksgiving dinner. It seemed more like an upper west side soap opera to me. I was immediately engrossed in the story and became quite
The beginning of a love triangle fostered in a poem by E.E. Cummings.

The beginning of a love triangle fostered in a poem by E.E. Cummings.
entangled in all its symbolisms, paradoxes, and subtle epiphanies. Not to mention the intensity it takes to follow the idiosyncrasies of each character and their relationships with one another. Honestly, the depth of each individual scene could be studied earnestly and create volumes of dialogue, but that's not my purpose. In order to understand why this is considered a great Thanksgiving movie, I had to stop looking at the individuals and examine the overall issue. And this is what I found....

Sometimes we get caught up in the game of life and our search to make sense of it all is in vain. The search for what we "think" makes us happy consumes us, leaving us with a distorted and gritty sense of existence. The ideal existence becomes more unapproachable than the reality we fought so hard to disembowel. I think in a weird way this move tells us a lot about Thanksgiving since this is supposed to be a time of the year we
The religious quest of my favorite character, the hypochondriac.

The religious quest of my favorite character, the hypochondriac.
put all our differences aside and this family really works hard to do just that.

For most of the movie love is watered down to a Monet-like experience overcastted with unfettered sexual desires and intellectuality devoured into a misshaped human heart strung out on the desire to be an emotion versus feeling it. In the end, when the desire for control is let go (even in Lee's case, although her letting go was gaining controlóbut maybe her past control was a controlled vulnerability, a need to be needed, which is something to think about) and we learn to be present that's when life opens up for us in the most miraculous and beautiful way.

I am not going to go into elaborate detail about how this idea changes each character or how you should view the movie based on this perspective. I am actually not going to talk about the movie at all, less what I have said already. I want you to watch it for yourself. I actually
Let it be! Happy Thanksgiving!

Let it be! Happy Thanksgiving!
urge you to do so. Come up with your own interpretations. I would love to see what this movie brings to you and yours (excluding young children of course).

However, I will leave you with this:

Let life come to you. Forget all the drama and the so-called dysfunctional realities of your family when you meet up this Thanksgiving. Just embrace the moment and let go of the past and your expectations of the future. It's funny because when you don't brood over things or plan on being angry, you feel a lot lighter even though you probably ate more pumpkin pie than intended. Enjoy simply being together. And while it lingers, savor every last drop like it's the last bottle of wine.

P.S. You can watch this movie on Netflix.com or instantly download it to your DVR or XBOX to view on your television. Netflix offers the first month free to new members. And no, I am not getting paid to say this. I just know you can find the movie there.

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Nov 25, 2010 8:49 AM
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Good column.

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The Big Picture
Every other Thursday

Using the Big Pictures as a bigger picture into the world around us, follow me as I explore this window of opportunity into other perspectives on life, love, and happiness. I will peel back the layers of fiction and movie making magic to show you the truth within. Sat Nam.

Other Columns
Other columns by Crystal O'Gorman:

Lessons Learned from Movies

Without Conventions in Waiting for Forever

127 Hours

Kid Movies

Children of Men...'Nuff Said!

All Columns

Crystal O'Gorman
I am a big dreamer from a small town searching for the meaning of life and using movies as a window of opportunity to understand the world around me. I remember working at the local, family-operated movie store as a teenager and being completely fascinated by the way movies bring the rest of the world to your finger tips.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Crystal O'Gorman by clicking here.

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